Purist audio designs and transparent are 2 great choices...
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I have owned Prana Wire and agree totally with another commentor; I still have it in my collection. I am using the Snake River Audio Mamushi interconnects and speaker cables and it is the first cabling I have tried that surpasses my Prana and it isn't "break the bank" expensive. Everyone who's listened to my system since adding it late last year is amazed at the difference in sound; it is very very musical, quiet but with excellent detail and depth. Highly recommended in my book.
I guess i could move to Clear Beyond speaker cables but that would be the end of it as there are no Clear Beyond interconnects. I already have a Clear Beyond power cable feeding my Nordost power distribution bar and Clears connecting my components to the power bar. I'm looking for alternate directions as well, though.
Which Purist Audio and Transparent cables would be a step up from the Clears?
Camb, you might want to look at the intriguing Hidiamond wires... A full spectrum provider of wire products that has been receiving very positive reactions on Audiogon... Essentially without negative comments. See for example the entire thread starting somewhere north of:
And then there are Shunyata King Cobra, Anaconda, and Python gradations in the current Z-Tron and earlier CX series.
06-13-13: HifimaniacI would go this direction if it were me doing it. They have a 30 day money back gaurantee. They also state that they have never had a customer return anything for a refund ????
These sound very interesting to me. AND they are not overly expensive compared to some of the other cables mentioned here .
Seems like it would be well worth a try .
The prices on the MG Signatures I saw were $6200 for the power cords (6 ft), $3500/$4250 for RCA/XLR interconnects, and $6000 for 8 foot biwire speaker cables. These were as of early 2012.
I got a chance to audition the prototype of the new Masterbuilt Ultra Extreme interconnects-- Delphi loaned me a prototype of the Ultra 2 meter XLR set at Axpona. The production version of these will be unchanged except possibly the external color. The projected price on the Ultras is $8k & $10k for one meter RCAs & XLRs with two meter XLRs at $12k.
Camb, I've submitted a review of the Ultras (not yet approved & posted). I have to say that I wasn't prepared for the improvement the Ultras made and that was just with insterting just one pair of two meter XLRs. I sent them back in late April and I still greatly miss them. The review will go into more detail.
I have tried Cardas Clear interconnects. They do nothing wrong, have ample defined bass, and an airy top end. It was very smooth and voices were rendered beautifully. I settled for Purist Audio Corvus instead. It is a little more dynamic and threw a deep soundstage into the room. It is also a little more forward overall and a touch warmer. However, the Cardas Clear had a slightly richer sound and was overall more organic/natural. I think it rendered micro details better as well. If you can trade off a bit of richness for more energy, speed and dynamics, you can't go wrong with the Synergistic Research offerings. The Apex may be what you're looking for or the new Element series.
I was wondering if someone could provide a few sentences on the sound of the Cardas Clear Power Cord. Does it have the same sound characteristics as the interconnects? I noticed the connectors on the Clear Beyond is rhodium and hope it isn't an analytic, cold sounding cable. The interconnects I found were a little on the warm side with emphasis on the mid-range/bass and airy highs that were slightly rolled off (not sharp, but smooth and airy). Overall a rich interconnect that provided nice weight throughout all frequencies, something my Magnepan 1.7's enjoy. I really wonder if the Clear Power cord does the same? I'm also considering the PS Audio AC-12 and wondering if I should be considering any other cables. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Purist Audio makes the best powercords. I love them. In drive and in letting you hear all the layers of the lowest freq they are stunning.I never heard a powercable with this open mid freq. The 2013 LE is my favorite powercable. This year I also bought the 2013 Redwood loudspeakercable bi-wire from Audioquest. high/mid is pure silver, low is full copper. It is the best timing and speed I auditioned so far by a loudspeakercable. Even better than my old Valhalla from Nordost which I owned for 12 years. The dbs boxes also give you the best blacks I heard from a loudspeakercable. Presence is like in real.
The new Transparent does not have the level in blacks what the best Audioquest can give. At a audioshow this year I was the absolute sound. I played full PAD Limited Edition 2013 powercabels and Redwood 2013. Many people even audio shopowners never heard this level of 3-dimensional presence in there lifes.
I have a Cardas Clear Power Cable powering a Bryston 4BSST2. I originally had it plugged into a Bryston BIT 15 power conditioner but that was overkill. I instead plugged into the wall outlet and after some break in, bass seems deeper and under better control. The sound stage appears to be a bit deeper as well. The 4BSST2 doesn't really need a power cable upgrade but when I go back to the OEM cable, the music seems to lose some weight.
I've been upgrading my entire system from Cardas Clear Light to Clear cables. Listening to the Hi Res music on the flash drive Bryston ships with the BPD-2 digital player, I notice the last bit of sibilance is gone with the switch from Clear Light to Clear.
Since Cardas better cables seem to take a long time to break in, I don't know what the final result will be but even with freah Clears, I prefer them over the Lights.
I intend to replace the Kimber Monocle X speaker cables with Cardas Clear when I get through with the IC's. BTW, I also upgraded my Cardas AES digital cable to Cardas new Clear version and I was surprised at how much improvement it made. The caveat is that I went from a .5 meter cable to a 1 meter cable and I've been told digital cables should be at least 1 meter long.
Thanks Leatherneck for your input on the Cardas Clear power cords. Bo1972 thanks for reminding me about Purist Audio. It got me thinking and I was blessed to find a great buy on a Canorus power cord. The Limited is a big jump in price (for me) from the Cardas Clear, but the Canorus is a nice middle ground. I'll report back on impressions. Hopefully it has the excellent qualities of the Clear, with increased dynamics and soundstage.
I found the Clear power cords sounded a lot like the other Clear gear - more extension in the extreme high/low frequencies, a bit more open while retaining a bit of the organic/fluid sound that Cardas is known for. Bass was the biggest impact of adding the Clear power cords for me.
I also noticed some improvement in moving up from the Clear M to the Clear Power. I've only ever used Clear Beyond Power for my amp. Cardas claims better power filtration as you move up the line.
Camb, I still own cardas clear xlr. Since I move to high fidelity ct1e rca then
I found that cardas is very far behind in term of dynamic,punch and speed,
If the excitement is what u look for ,ct1e is a must audition.
For xlr I would recommend hi diamond xlr3 ,this cable is really very musical
When I listen to hi diamond xlr3 ,I forget about the speed ,punch and excitement , feeling calm and relax and listen to music, high diamond xlr3 and their power cable p4 is a must audition in my opinion
I was deciding between Golden Ref and Clear Light but unfortunately my local dealer does not have Clear Light for trial. He did however have Clear. I was surprised to find that Golden Ref had some sibilance in less pristine recordings of brass instruments while Clear did not. Clear was very extended but natural even though it had less body and warmth compared to Golden Ref.
I actually wanted to get Golden Cross as I don't mind sacrificing speed and extension for warmth and body but that has been discontinued.
How does Clear Light compare to these?
Try some Cardas Hexlink Golden 5C and experience. I have had many ultra high end speaker cables in my system but the 5Cs have proven to be the most consistent, reliable, warm sounding and enjoyable one across a wide spectrum of music. You cannot go really wrong with this one. Also their used prices make them a bargain. In my system, i keep alternating between my Cardas and my Jorma Unity speaker cables depending on music. But the Cardas is the all rounder, sweet cable while Jorma is the more focused and clean one.
I've replaced my Cardas Clear Light cables with Clear upstream of the preamp.
I'm now thinking of replacing the long Clear Light IC's from the preamp to the amp with Clears.
My opinion of Clear Light IC's is that they are very close to Clears with a bit less bottom end, a bit less sweetness on the top and perhaps a bit less organic. In other words, I might put it as Clear Lights are 80% as good as Clears at 1/3rd the price.
I suspect in most systems you won't hear the difference.
Half a year later, I find myself looking for answers to the original question! Mikey8811, I was surprised to read your comparison between the GR and Clear. I had GR XLR's in my system and compared them to the Clear and PAD Corvus. I tried the Clear first. I played a few Celine Dion songs to test for sibilance and was surprised to find that the Clear had much less than the GR. I felt the Clear was better in every way and didn't feel that the high's were highlighted. Kind of the best of the GR's were enhanced and weaknesses addressed. The Clear had a very wide soundstage, but didn't have the soundstage depth I was seeking. The Corvus did that and I chose that cable for my CDP to Integrated amp.
Well it now turns out that my integrated amp has jumpers between the pre-out and amp-in. Jumpers of any sort have been terrible. I decided to try a short GR interconnect instead, and voila the system sounds great. So now I'm looking for GR replacement... again.
So far I haven't come across a cable that would all out beat the clear by a significant margin without paying quite a price. I think the PAD Canorus would offer all the Clear's great traits and much more (judging by the power cord), while offering the warm sound of the GR. However, at 8K retail, I don't think this is happening. I recently listed to the XLO Unlimited and found it to be an exceptional cable (vs Valhalla). I think it's very comparable to the Clear and may be sweeter in sound. There's a review by Luminator (google search) that compares the Limited to Clear speaker cables. However, I can't find the XLO cables anywhere (no longer made). This would leave the Synergistic Research Apex (without bullets) as the only cable I know of that can match the Clear, produce a 'warm' sound, and can be found for Clear prices or less. It's big though, and will not fit in my rack or integrated amp well...
There is another solution though. Furutech has an AC receptacle called the GTX-D. The Gold version offers a warm tone. However, the Rhodium version is said to be better because it does not have that layer of warmth. The GTX-D gold has thus been criticized. However, for those of using Home Depot receptacles, need some warmth, and an increase in dynamics, resolution, etc, this could be a cost effective upgrade that may provide the right balance.
I have bought a GTX-D Gold. And now I'll pick up a Cardas Clear IC again.
Mikey, I'm in the middle of moving so I won't have the opportunity to try the GTX-D Gold. I have lot's of experience with Furutech power connectors and IEC inlets. Their gold products are very warm in sound (FI-11, FI-10). I can't imagine the GTX doing any harm, not even the Rhodium.
I haven't tried the Golden Cross. If you aren't seeking to attain Cardas Clear levels of resolution, I would fully recommend trying Purist Audio Venustas (Praesto) cables (IC, SC, not the power cable). I replaced my Cardas GR speaker cables with the Venustas. It took away the sibilance that the GR had and produced a 3D like soundstage. Imaging was far better and more realistic. Bass and mid-range bloom remain, but the highs are much more clear. It is very much as warm and full as the GR. However since it is a laid back/relaxed sound the highs do no harm. Overall, the Venustas will give you more of what you like of the GR with less of what you don't like. I don't believe however, that it is at the same level as the Clear in terms of timbre, clarity and resolution. You could rent (borrow) from the CableCo. If you like it, I highly recommend the Purist dealers on Audiogon (I've bought from three different dealers here). Message them for up to date pricing and I think you'll be surprised on how good of a value the Venustas is. Purist also has another cable called Aqueous Aureus. It is smoother than the GR, perhaps even warmer. Highs are slightly more liquid than GR too. The speaker cable has strong bass (after 150 hours break-in). But overall, I think it's in the same general class as the GR but more refined (it is also cheaper). The Venustas is a big upgrade.
Since you like the Golden Cross I suspect you may have a little harshness in your system? A friend of mine let me borrow Black Diamond Racing cones (BDR) because I had this issue. I found BDR MK3 Cones with BDR MK4 pucks on top are amazing upgrades if you have no isolation. A lot of the harshness i had was because of not having any isolation. The cone/puck combo improved every area, no weaknesses. You'll find more bold images, improved bass, expanded soundstage and smoother highs. Other isolation products I found to be here and there with improvements, but the BDR's just seem to work.
I would also recommend taking up the Akiko Audio Tuning stick trial offer. To smooth your system in a warm way, try the AC stick. To add clarity and dynamics try the RCA stick. Or try both and return the one that doesn't work. This little sticks can make more difference than cable changes!